If you were to tell the 15 year-old version of me, working at the local Coffee Bean, that I would be running my own business by the age of 25, I would have thought you were crazy. Dreams really do come true, but with a lot of hard work, sweat and maybe some tears. I grew up in Arroyo Grande, CA about 15 miles south of San Luis Obispo on the Central Coast of CA. After High School, I went straight down to the concrete Jungle of Los Angeles to attend the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and earned my A.A. in Interior Design. I moved back to San Luis Obispo as an Assistant Designer and earned my Bachelor's in Business Admin. I worked various jobs to put myself through school and kept pushing forward until I finally was able to take the leap and start my own Interior Design Studio. With barely $400 in my bank account, I was able to sustain and eventually build up my business to a full scale design studio and now have an office walking distance to the ocean. And this is only the start!
What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture or to make significant changes in an existing business? How did the idea for your business come about?
I think I always wanted to be my own boss and start my own company. I admired strong, powerful women and wanted to be one myself. Going to school for Interior Design and Business helped me learn the principles of both and set a great foundation for my Interior Design Studio. I also have started a clothing line geared towards designers called the Sweet As Honey Shoppe on Etsy. I love to create and try new things!
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
Well, the hurdles don't stop when you start your business, just how you handle them!
When I first started, I really wanted an office space but had to save up for a year before that became a reality. I worked from home and was very disciplined in setting "work hours" until it became a habit!
What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read?
I am a sucker for non-fiction thrillers, so I am reading "The Woman in the Window," by A.J. Finn. I also love "You Are A Badass" by Jen Sincero.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits? How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
I started my business when I was 25 years old. I come from a very traditional Persian family, where you either become a doctor or marry one. I knew I wanted something more for myself and carved my own path. Over the past few years, my family has seen how hard I have worked and have been very supportive.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
Surrounding myself with mentors and people that inspire me to be the best that I can be. There will be times where you are discouraged, so having a safety net of people that know you and love you is SO important.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
It takes a lot of mental strength and willpower to be an entrepreneur. Just remember to take time for yourself and your own mental health.
What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?
Consistency is KEY! Whatever you do, be consistent.
Also, don't take advice from someone that you would not want to trade places with. Everyone is going to have an opinion on what you "should" do, but consider the source!